Dr. Georgiou describes blue zones, sections in the world where people live longer, healthier lives, and explains if these zones can be recreated.
Blue zones are demographically, geographically defined areas where people are known to live longer, over the age of 90 more so than in other parts of the world, and there are five blue zones that have been identified in the world – Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, California and a small island in Greece – Ikaria, Greece.
But the real question is while we know that we can go to all of those wonderful places and be in a blue zone, the real question is can we create a blue zone in our own homes, in our own environments and in our own cities, and there was actually an experiment done in 2009 that tried to transform a small American city Albert Lea, Minnesota, a town of 30,000, and the blue zone’s team worked with the city, the leaders and the people and the schools and the grocery stores so that everyone would participate together in turning Albert Lea into a blue zone, and it worked.
And what it really did was it changed the type of food that was being purchased in the grocery stores. It changed how many children were walking to school every day as parents collaborated in trying to form . . . that walked altogether to the school instead of taking the school bus.
The sense of community was incredible as people started meeting each other because they were out and about walking naturally and so the community became more connected and they were able to show through some calculations that by putting blue zones and lifestyle behaviors in place in Albert Lea they saved thousands of years of life from that population of 30,000.
This coming year there are many cities who are vying for a position to turn their city into a blue zone and so we will see a much larger city somewhere in the United States that will try to transform itself as well, and if that works I think that will really be a theme around the country since we are all really struggling with what is going to make us a nation that’s healthier and has wellness instead of having all of this obesity and heart disease and diabetes.
We need different solutions for health and wellness than what we have been working on in the past and this approach, this blue zone’s approach is so natural and so straightforward and so simple that it might be achievable across the nation.
About Dr. Archelle Georgiou, M.D.:
Dr. Archelle Georgiou combines her deep knowledge of clinical medicine with a breadth of experience in business and health care administration to pursue her passion for simplifying the health care system. As a practicing physician and as a corporate managed care executive, Dr. Georgiou learned and leveraged the value and importance of simple and compelling communication to influence impacting patients’ personal health care behaviors as well as driving health care purchasing decisions and business growth.